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'Awards are like car accessories'

Atul Kulkarni talks about movies, life and Aamir Khan in Rang De Basanti.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 15:53 IST

Winner of two National Awards Atul Kulkarni, who was recently seen as a fundamentalist in the box office blockbuster Rang De Basanti, says awards are not "the be-all and end-all of life".

"I have always believed that awards are like accessories to a car. They are very similar to the rear view mirror in a car, which gives you the confidence to drive. They sure mean a lot; however, they are not the be-all and end-all of life," says Atul.

Highly acclaimed for his role in Chandni Bar and Satta, Atul doesn't mind working in woman-centric films, reports Bollywood Trade.

"I don't care if it's a women-oriented film. It depends a lot on the character I guess. I have no qualms whatsoever."

Right now Atul is concentrating on his Marathi film Maati Maay.

Excerpts of an interview:

 

 It was excellent working with Aamir in RDB, says Atul Kulkarni

You have played a variety of roles including a cop in

Dum

, a shrewd politician in

Satta

, a gangster in

Chandni Bar

and a fundamentalist in

Rang De Basanti

. Do you think any other character is really left for you to experiment with?

I feel there are plenty of possibilities and opportunities still left for me to explore. It is an ongoing process and I still have to discover a lot of things.

Do things like length of a role and character matter to you?

The story is the most crucial aspect of a film. The length of a character matters to a certain extent. Having said that, I strongly feel however lengthy the character might be, if the story is not strong and articulately told, the length has no value then, it just fizzles out. So a robust story line matters the most to me.

Do you believe in listening to your heart, because I guess you wanted to take up arts but your parents were keen that you study science?

It's very easy for people in Mumbai to say that they want to follow their hearts and do things accordingly. But the fact is everything right from your family, social pressures to issues like generation gap matter a lot.

It took me some time to figure out what I wanted in life and I finally quit engineering. Now when I look back, I feel I'd taken a wise decision to join the film industry.

You know, had I not done well in this industry, my relatives would have ridiculed this decision of mine.

How was it like working with Aamir Khan in Rang De Basanti?

It was excellent working with him. I have always admired him and this was a great learning experience for me and I have found a great friend in him. I have high regards for him as a person and as an actor as well.

Which is your favourite scene in Rang De Basanti?

I loved all the scenes in the film. It is impossible for me to single out any one particular scene. All the scenes are equally close to my heart.

Personally what does freedom mean to you?

We live in a society and are bound by its rules and regulations. There are societal norms which one has to cater to. Sometimes you are left with no choice and you have to live within the boundaries and confinements. It is actually a very relative term I'd say.

You have done films like Satta, Chandni Bar and Page 3, which are very women centric in nature. Would you do another women-oriented film? Also, your films mostly have a hard-hitting and realistic subject line?

I don't care if it's a women-oriented film. It depends a lot on the character I guess. I have no qualms whatsoever.

About the subject, I guess the trend is changing gradually. Audiences have started accepting such story lines and I feel they definitely create a greater impact on people. It will continue to work in the future.

How did you feel when you received your first National Award?

I had no clue whatsoever as to when National Awards are declared and stuff. I actually realised its importance after two-three days when people started calling me up. That was the time I fathomed its significance and felt it sure was a big thing.

What do awards mean to you? How important a role do they play in your life?

I have always believed that awards are like accessories to a car. They are very similar to the rear view mirror in a car, which gives you the confidence to drive. They sure mean a lot; however it is not like they are the be-all and end-all of life.

You have worked with Madhur Bhandarkar in three films. So is it like you prefer working with him? Also, you are not there in his forthcoming film Corporate?

Do you really think so? I have done 20 films and among that only three have been directed by him. As far as Corporate is concerned, I wasn't there in Aan.

Only if a particular role suits me, he would approach me right. In fact, I take it otherwise - I feel it's a sign of a good director.

Are you still doing theatre? Is there a major difference between acting in films and theatre?

I don't think there is much difference. The only difference that distinguishes the two is the technique. Cinematic technique is different from the technique used in theatre.

Can you tell me something about your forthcoming films?

I am doing a Telegu film and there is this Marathi film directed by Chitra Palekar called Maati Maay.